Innovative Sustainable Re-development – Masdar City

by Maja Roic on September 25, 2015

place_thumb.jpgThis blog article is about Masdar City, a new city project in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The dual core of this project is innovation and sustainability. The goal is to extend the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the new city, by growing new neighbourhoods around the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

The institute is dedicated to cutting-edge solutions in the fields of sustainability and energy. Economic growth should be encouraged by companies who can partner with the university which accelerates breakthrough of technologies to the market.

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The city of Masdar is planned in a way which combines modern technologies with ancient Arabic architectural techniques. The idea was to capture prevailing winds, making the city more comfortable during high summer temperatures. Masdar City also uses clean energy which is generated on site through solar energy. It has one of the largest photovoltaic installations in the region.

The Masdar City Master Plan plays a central role in enabling the city’s success in achieving its sustainability goals. The city is designed to reduce water and energy consumption and it also includes a smart integrated transportation network.

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In 2006, company named Masdar was established by The Mubadala Development Company (wholly owned by Abu Dhabi government). The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology was established in 2007, with the on-going support of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The construction of Masdar City started in 2008, aiming to develop the worlds most sustainable eco-city. The city is designed to be a hub for cleantech companies. In September 2010, the first buildings opened, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology moved into its campus.

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The first phase of the project is expected to be completed during 2015, and final project completion should be between 2020 and 2025. Masdar is guided by The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, a programme that drives new sources of income for the emirate and strengthens its knowledge-based economic sectors.

The city itself is located 17km east-south-east from the city of Abu Dhabi, next to the Abu Dhabi International Airport. Besides from others, it will host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Abu Dhabi is trying to extend its energy leadership from hydrocarbons, and Masdar will play a significant role in this goal. It is using and integrated business model and combining sustainable urban development, investment, R&D and higher education in order to meet the changing needs of the evolving industry.

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One of the main missions of Masdar City (and Masdar company which is managing it) is to advance the clean energy in Abu Dhabi and around the world. It is a catalyst for the economic diversification of the emirate.

It was important to detect the influence of the project in all of the four sections, to put emphasis not only on the hard factors, but also on the soft factors of the project, mainly the effect it will have on the community.

In the graphic displayed below, we have mapped the vision of the project, through four main factors that we identified were relevant in all of the projects we analysed.

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Most of the financing for this project came through a $15 billion commitment by the Abu Dhabi government. The goal is to get as many investments from independent investors, in order to use less than one-third of the fund that was dedicated to the initiative by the Abu Dhabi government.

Some of the investors so far include Credit Suisse and the Deutsche Bank. Total estimated cost for the project is $22 billion.

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In conclusion, Masdar city is the world’s most sustainable eco-neighbourhood, with passive and intelligent building design that reduces energy and water demands. It features the world’s largest cluster of high-performance buildings, and has the design that encourages and promotes zero-carbon public transportation options. It is a mix of educational, retail, recreational, manufacturing housing and office spaces.

At the moment there are several thousand people living and working in Masdar, and it is planned that 40,000 people will live in Masdar City when it is completed. Additional 50,000 people are expected to be commuting to it every day to study and work in Masdar. New apartments, schools, restaurants and businesses keep on being added to Masdar, creating a major modern city.

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About Maja Roic :

Maja Roic has recently finalised her Master of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Zagreb, and works as an analyst with Bearing, where she works on pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, cost-benefit analysis, translations and document preparation, as well as research and case studies.
In 2012-2013 she was an exchange student at the Technische Universität in München.
She is the National Contact for Croatia for the European Architecture Students Assembly (EASA).

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